5

votes

is weight loss really as simple as caloric restriction?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 22, 2013 at 5:07 PM

robb wolf has recently changed his position and states that body recomposition is really all about calories.

i'm not saying eating 1500 calories of fast food and soda is healthy or that it's good for satiating one's appetite, but is the effect of insulin exaggerated? mark sisson claims the insulinogenic effect in small amounts of dairy can stall weight loss which i don't buy.

can most people (even those with diabetes and insulin resistance) lose weight by simply restricting calories?

D916a0f55db32cab0a4f54549fcdb8a7

(125)

on January 24, 2013
at 06:46 AM

What you are eating is much more important than your calorie intake.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 23, 2013
at 01:23 AM

Good points. I say, First, get your food choices right. Second, get your particular macros right. Third, iron out your timing. Finally, start lowering the calories.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 23, 2013
at 01:19 AM

Amen. Good food choices plus calorie restriction divided by timing equals lean.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I think it's been proven that low insulin levels (thus a grain and sugar free diet) like alligator said lead to more FAT LOSS, particularly the deep fatty tissue surrounding the organs, “... [S]ubjects who consumed [a] moderately carb-restricted diet had 11 percent less deep abdominal fat than those who ate the standard diet ... [S]ubjects on both diets lost weight. However, the moderately carb-restricted diet promoted a 4 percent greater loss of total body fat”. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/08/cut-down-on-carbs-to-reduce-body-fat.aspx

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:38 AM

@animaleater, are your carb choices once a week just taters? Is this a calorie spiked day or just a normal amount of calories with carbs thrown in? Interesting experience!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:17 AM

Thanks, FY! :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:16 AM

+1 nice answer.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:51 PM

Read Eat Stop Eat. Lot of studies and facts. Metabolism doesn't lower much on cal restriction within the reasonable bounds any normal human can stand.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:49 PM

Word. Me too. Going VLC taught my mind and body to tell the difference between hormonal hunger and the real thing, and fixed my tired metabolism. I Learned IF'ing. But 3000 cal of meat and fat MADE ME FAT, though I was dead lifting something fierce! 1600 cal VLC didn't lean me back out at all. 1400/2000 calories, VLC/tuber carbload, rest/training days leaned me below 10% bodyfat.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:43 PM

Chronic insulin elevation does this, but periodic spikes in insulin create a hormonal/metabolic fat burning effect. Carb load at night once or thrice weekly, stay VLC otherwise.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:41 PM

Lyle McDonald and Martin Berkhan agree on that protein issue; it helps preserve lean mass while on a calorie deficit fat cutting cycle. Quasi-PSMF.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:30 PM

Good post. VLC trains your mind and body to be satisfied with real food. Then leangains tweaks the details for real leaning effect.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 22, 2013
at 10:14 PM

Losing weight decreases your metabolism more than a transient caloric deficit. By that logic, then losing weight in the long run makes you fatter.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 22, 2013
at 10:09 PM

Haha, carlos, too true! Folks are finally coming around though.

F8fb7f16a02306405a796cc670a0f3f9

(120)

on January 22, 2013
at 08:52 PM

Because a man named Gary Taubes sold us a bag of bullshit.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 22, 2013
at 07:26 PM

It can be oil, sugar water, or put a nose-clip on and just eat a meal. The presence of calories in the absence of flavor down regulates appetite. You don't want to taste anything else a the time either- space it out away from other foods (or drink) by an hour. I used to take 2tbsp of walnut oil in the morning, and then have my coffee later, at work.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 22, 2013
at 07:23 PM

It doesn't have to be oil; it could be anything, as long as it has calories and you don't taste it or eat it near other things that you do taste. So, I used to get up and take 2 tbsp of walnut oil in the morning and I waited an hour before I tasted anything. I could eaten chicken with a nose clip on too. The presence of calories with without flavor down regulates the appetite.

7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on January 22, 2013
at 06:08 PM

The Shangri-La diet is interesting, but I certainly don't understand! Two tablespoons of oil or sugar water before/after meals?

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on January 22, 2013
at 05:45 PM

Low carb =/= low insulin.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on January 22, 2013
at 05:43 PM

weight loss? yes. Fat loss? Definitely not.

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11 Answers

6
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on January 22, 2013
at 09:25 PM

I think it's calories AND insulin. It may not be both for everyone, but for me it was. When I started Paleo, I had blood sugar issues and was on Metformin. Changing the way I ate helped, for sure. 300 calories of bread is not nearly as satifying as 300 calories of eggs, or meats and greens. Nothing is a magic fix, and I am extremely pragmatic. I don't think I can eat 2500 calories of butter and meat everyday and lose weight, but eating 1200 calories of grains and sugary stuff makes you feel horrible. Getting completely as possible away from carbs and glucose helped me learn how to eat better. I eat less now, of better food, with higher fat, and lower carbs.

I don't like preachers, of anything. I try things, I keep what works, I change what doesn't. I read the studies and what info is offered, but I keep in mind that things need a body of evidence to prove correct.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:49 PM

Word. Me too. Going VLC taught my mind and body to tell the difference between hormonal hunger and the real thing, and fixed my tired metabolism. I Learned IF'ing. But 3000 cal of meat and fat MADE ME FAT, though I was dead lifting something fierce! 1600 cal VLC didn't lean me back out at all. 1400/2000 calories, VLC/tuber carbload, rest/training days leaned me below 10% bodyfat.

4
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 22, 2013
at 05:25 PM

There in lies the rub: simply restricting calories. I couldn't simply restrict calories because I was ravenously hungry by 9am and incapable of having another coherent thought until after I ate a ham and cheese crossiant next door at the cafe that doesn't exist anymore.

So, by eating low carb you eventually get to where you can eat just 1500 calories. Insulin is a problem when you are riding the roller coaster where insulin pushes your blood sugar below where your brain is happy, which leads to instant ravenous hunger. This is a lot more likely to happen when you are eating carbs, and if you are already overweight, you probably are prone to this problem. Then there is that whole backend issue, where the presence of insulin promotes fat storage, so logically, the less insulin throughout the day, the more time for fat release.

It isn't about the calories short term, but it is about the calories long term. What people don't seem to understand is what you eat now have a strong effect on what you will eat later because it determines how hungry you will be.

Check out Seth Robert's research on the Shangri-La Diet if you are interested in learning more.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 22, 2013
at 07:26 PM

It can be oil, sugar water, or put a nose-clip on and just eat a meal. The presence of calories in the absence of flavor down regulates appetite. You don't want to taste anything else a the time either- space it out away from other foods (or drink) by an hour. I used to take 2tbsp of walnut oil in the morning, and then have my coffee later, at work.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:30 PM

Good post. VLC trains your mind and body to be satisfied with real food. Then leangains tweaks the details for real leaning effect.

7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on January 22, 2013
at 06:08 PM

The Shangri-La diet is interesting, but I certainly don't understand! Two tablespoons of oil or sugar water before/after meals?

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 22, 2013
at 07:23 PM

It doesn't have to be oil; it could be anything, as long as it has calories and you don't taste it or eat it near other things that you do taste. So, I used to get up and take 2 tbsp of walnut oil in the morning and I waited an hour before I tasted anything. I could eaten chicken with a nose clip on too. The presence of calories with without flavor down regulates the appetite.

3
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:09 AM

Fat loss (not weight loss, per se) is all about a calorie deficit, which may NOT necessarily require calorie restriction.

It's all about metabolism.

For example, if your particular metabolism "revs up" and uses more calories/day when you eat a higher carb ratio, then you could create a calorie deficit by eating, say 2000 calories a day, with 1000 of them being carbs.

But if you eat 2,000 calories a day, with only 100 carb calories, your particular metabolism might run slower (you may have less energy to move, for example) and thus use fewer calories and then you would not necessarily have a calorie deficit.

This is why a higher carb diet tends to work well for youngish men. YMMV.

For older women and the very obese, a lower carb diet is often the best bet for our particular metabolisms. YMMV.

Calorie restriction does work out on paper, but in practice will often result in binges/weight gain in the metabolically deranged, which is why paying attention to macros is important for some of us.

Read this for a really good debunking of the "dairy is insulinogenic" issue:

http://cogitoergoedo.com/2012/03/30/does-dairy-make-you-fat/

Robb Wolf is neither old, obese or female. 'Nuff said.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:16 AM

+1 nice answer.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:17 AM

Thanks, FY! :)

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 23, 2013
at 01:23 AM

Good points. I say, First, get your food choices right. Second, get your particular macros right. Third, iron out your timing. Finally, start lowering the calories.

2
Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on January 22, 2013
at 05:48 PM

Most people's goal is not weight loss. They want fat loss while preserving or building muscle. Robb Wolf says (for example) that eating adequate protein during a calorie deficit can help to prevent muscle loss (and thereby increase fat loss), so even with just that it's more than just calories.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:41 PM

Lyle McDonald and Martin Berkhan agree on that protein issue; it helps preserve lean mass while on a calorie deficit fat cutting cycle. Quasi-PSMF.

2
B7adfba2747448515bd68fe8d3889d39

on January 22, 2013
at 05:22 PM

If you watch the documentary, named fat head. You'll see it is possible to loose weight on fast food as well. (Even thought that is not the agenda of the documentary).

Calorie restriction means nothing, if your insulin level is high. Because even the low calories you eat, may store as fat.

The key is, to keep a low insuling (low carb) and then do somewhat a calorie restriction.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on January 22, 2013
at 05:45 PM

Low carb =/= low insulin.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:43 PM

Chronic insulin elevation does this, but periodic spikes in insulin create a hormonal/metabolic fat burning effect. Carb load at night once or thrice weekly, stay VLC otherwise.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:38 AM

@animaleater, are your carb choices once a week just taters? Is this a calorie spiked day or just a normal amount of calories with carbs thrown in? Interesting experience!

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 22, 2013
at 05:21 PM

Yes, it's all calories.

1
1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:46 PM

Yep. I was eating paleo for over 6 months, working out constantly, and blaming my lack of weight loss on occasional cheats or improper macronutrient ratios. When I made a point off cutting calories, I lost 15lb in 2 months, dipping below 10% bodyfat for the first time ever.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 23, 2013
at 01:19 AM

Amen. Good food choices plus calorie restriction divided by timing equals lean.

1
Medium avatar

on January 22, 2013
at 11:35 PM

If goal is fat loss and muscle preservation, in order of importance:

1-Calories in being fewer than calories out.

2-Tweaks on what, when, and how you eat.

VLC resets your metabolism and teaches your mind and body to be satisfied with real whole food, and allows you to tolerate and thrive on fewer calories without losing your mind.

Leangains, Lyle McDonald, Carb Backloading, provide tweaks that get your lean based on timing and manipulation, but still operate within rule #1 above.

1
383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on January 22, 2013
at 08:20 PM

so if calories are all that matter, why is there so much hubbub over insulin?

F8fb7f16a02306405a796cc670a0f3f9

(120)

on January 22, 2013
at 08:52 PM

Because a man named Gary Taubes sold us a bag of bullshit.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 22, 2013
at 10:09 PM

Haha, carlos, too true! Folks are finally coming around though.

1
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 22, 2013
at 05:39 PM

Yes it is about energy, and it is about the effect the source of those calories have on the chemistry of the body and its energy usage.

Restrict calories and you restrict the amount of chemical building blocks you have to use, which will helpfully be made up for (if possible) by the body-itself. But if it can't then the effects may not be so useful, similarly provide an excess of building blocks and the results can be either useful or not so useful.

0
4bd4e2fe6a095663f80c69656936e487

(744)

on January 22, 2013
at 09:35 PM

No, caloric restriction will slow down your metabolism which in the long run will make you fatter.

D916a0f55db32cab0a4f54549fcdb8a7

(125)

on January 24, 2013
at 06:46 AM

What you are eating is much more important than your calorie intake.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 22, 2013
at 10:14 PM

Losing weight decreases your metabolism more than a transient caloric deficit. By that logic, then losing weight in the long run makes you fatter.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:51 PM

Read Eat Stop Eat. Lot of studies and facts. Metabolism doesn't lower much on cal restriction within the reasonable bounds any normal human can stand.

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